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Historic Third Ward

Activity Page
Check out the fun activity page for this neighborhood, designed by artist CK Ledema. Available in English and Spanish. Click to download and print!

Página de Actividad
Vea la página de actividades divertidas para este vecindario, diseñada por el artista CK Ledema. Disponible en ingles y español. Haga clic para descargar e imprimir!

About the Neighborhood

The Historic Third Ward is known as Milwaukee’s Arts and Fashion District. Trendy shops and award-winning dining options abound in this revitalized warehouse district.

Little known facts include:

  • Renowned Milwaukee architect A. C. Eschweiler (Charles Allis Art Museum, Wisconsin Gas Building, Hotel Metro) designed the Craftsman-style warehouse at 211 N Broadway.
  • For over a century, the wholesale grocery and commission industries were a focal point of commerce in the Third Ward. Much of the region’s produce distribution originated from “Commission Row” on the 300 block of Broadway. The last commission house closed in 2005.
  • The first banana shipped to Milwaukee was sold around 1911 at 400 N Broadway by E.R. Godfrey & Sons – a commission and wholesale grocery business.
  • In 1894, candy manufacturer George Ziegler & Company, located at 223 N Water Street (most recently Rivalry Bar and Grill), was the first in Wisconsin to produce marshmallows.
  • In 1984, the National Register of Historic Places accepted 70 buildings spanning approximately 10 square blocks as “The Historic Third Ward District.”
  • Built from re-purposed limestone and dolemite from Milwaukee’s deep tunnel project, and formerly known as “Harbor Island,” Lakeshore State Park (on the eastern shore of the neighborhood) is Wisconsin’s only urban state park.

Places to Visit

Sculpture Milwaukee

The Historic Third Ward is thrilled to be a part of the 2020 Sculpture Milwaukee season, thanks to the generosity of Black Box Fund. Take a southbound stroll down Broadway to visit Paula Crown’s JOKESTER, 2018, at the plaza in the 300 block. Head south to MODGEN (211 N Broadway) to discover three animated sculptures Leslie Hewitt’s Forty-Two, 2019, Sky Hopinka’s I’ll remember you as you are, not as what you’ll become, 2016, and Amy Yoes’ Mobile Animation Unit, 2019/20. Finish your tour at Catalano Square by visiting Paul Druecke’s Shoreline Repast, 2017. For more information regarding the 2020 artists and their work, visit sculpturemilwaukee.com.

Riverwalk

Our award-winning Riverwalk is the perfect way to explore the Historic Third Ward’s outdoor life. The ironwood walkway winds its way along the neighborhood’s western border and offers nearly a mile of river views and outdoor activities. Grab your pooch stroll next to the water, or stop and enjoy a drink and appetizer on one of the many Riverwalk restaurant patios. If you find yourself walking past the Young Street bridge, make sure to visit the beautiful new Trestle Park, which was completed in summer 2018. At night, unique “moonlighting” creates a beautiful and romantic atmosphere. Kayak rentals are a great way to explore the historic and artistic vistas from the water, too!

Third Ward Murals and Art Installations

2019 was an epic year for public art installations in the Historic Third Ward. In July 2019, world-renowned artist Case Maclaim installed the six-story mural The Unsung Hero on the PH Dye House at 320 E. Buffalo Street. From Wallpapered City: “The image is an homage to makers, and specifically the role that strong working women have played in the Historic Third Ward (and Milwaukee, by extension). The model is a notable Milwaukee chef, and this custom ‘portrait’ of her as every working woman hearkens back to the origins of the building as a hosiery producer in the early 20th century, where scores of women worked long hours in the factory.”

Additionally, Gallery Night MKE’s October 2019 event saw the installation of four small murals around the neighborhood, sponsored by Black Box Fund. The murals and locations are:

Fred Kaems - Who is that Philly in the Window? (Philodendron Portal)

Fred is a multi-disciplinary artist, working as a painter, muralist, designer, and maker. You’ll find his creation at 191 N Broadway (check the alley)!

Nova Czarnecki -The Current is Our Present

Nova’s works with oil paint, creating vibrant life-sized images of figures in motion, emotional portraits, and amped-up nature. Look for her painting at 342 N. Water Street.  

Ben Talatzko - Around the Bend

Ben is obsessed with surface quality, line quality, and vibrant colors, and his paintings portray the duality of seemingly flat, disparate components as a unified three-dimensional image. Discover his creation at 231 E. Buffalo Street.

Emma Daisy - What Happens When We Dream

Emma Daisy is a maker, painter, and creator who loves trying new techniques and exploring ideas resulting in mixed formats and experimentation. Encounter her mini mural on the north side of 221 N. Broadway.

Guidelines for Visiting Neighborhoods

While Historic Milwaukee is not opening buildings and sites to tour this year, we still encourage you to visit these recommended neighborhood locations for self-guided experiences. When visiting neighborhood locations please follow the mask ordinance - wear a mask and maintain social distance and respect residents and neighbors.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to artist CK Ledesma who designed and created the Doors Open Neighborhoods Activity pages. Thanks also to the neighborhood leaders to contributed information and recommendations on things to do and places to see in their neighborhoods. And thank you to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation for their support of the Activity Booklet.